New conflict brewing in the South? Salafist militia arrives in Aden to counter UAE
SANA’A – According to sources in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, a considerable military force loyal to the Islah Party, has arrived in the city from Ma’rib province.
The Islah Party is a Salafist political party led by high-ranking general Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who used to be the second-in-command under the presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh. Ahmar is known as a radical Salafist/Wahhabi and supporter of Saudi Arabia, and was responsible for the brutal crackdown on South Yemeni separatists in the 1994 conflict. The Salafist militias were deployed to the Heavy Transport Brigade camp and Al-Sawban military camp in Aden.
The Islah party militia allegedly was sent at the request of self-appointed “President” Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has been living in house arrest in Riyadh for years (although some sources claim he recently has returned to Aden and is living in the Ma’asheq Palace). Reports indicate that the deployment is supposed to replace the “presidential guard” of Hadi, that was sent to the frontline on the West Coast under Emirati pressure.
According to other sources in the region, however, the main cause for the deployment of Islah fighters is the fear of increased attacks by Southern Transitional Council (STC) troops, who seek to establish an independent South Yemen under Emirati auspices, and are known for their opposition against the presence of Hadi supporters in Aden.
This claim is supported by a recent incident in which UAE-backed forces seized a supply truck bound for pro-Hadi forces, filled with weaponry, ammunition and explosives. The Hadi regime responded to the seizure by demanding the immediate release of the truck and its contents, threatening with violent repercussions if these demands are not met.